TAI Diagnostics, RPRD, Wellbe, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist

Stay current on the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:

—TAI Diagnostics, a Wauwatosa-based startup seeking to commercialize a non-invasive test to monitor the health of heart transplant recipients, raised more than $1.7 million from 24 investors, according to an SEC filing that first became public on Thursday. The company’s test measures levels of cell-free DNA, genetic material discharged by the patient’s new heart that enters the bloodstream, to determine whether he or she is in danger of rejecting the organ. TAI Diagnostics has raised more than $10 million in equity and debt financing since launching in 2015, according to regulatory filings.

—RPRD Diagnostics, a Milwaukee-based company developing technology to examine patients’ genetic profiles to predict how they’ll react to particular drugs, announced a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The hospital has a program allowing all pediatric patients who receive care there to receive comprehensive pharmacogenetic testing, which is aimed at evaluating how they’ll metabolize and react physiologically to commonly prescribed medicines. According to a press release, St. Jude will use genotyping tools developed by Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO), which RPRD founder Ulrich Broeckel helped develop, to perform the pharmacogenetic testing.

—We profiled Access HealthNet, a Milwaukee-based startup developing digital tools designed to help employers save money on their workers’ healthcare. The company’s software helps customers determine, among all the healthcare providers covered under an employee health plan, which one charges the lowest rate for a given procedure or “episode of care.” Launched in 2014, Access HealthNet has raised about $5.2 million from investors and currently has 39 employees, co-founder and CEO Eric Haberichter said.

—Madison-based Wellbe, which has developed a set of digital forms, checklists, and surveys that help guide patients through medical procedures and treatments, announced two new partnerships. One is with Montreal, Canada-based Physiotec, which works with physical therapists to design exercise programs. The second collaboration Wellbe announced this week is with St. Paul, MN-based StayWell, which develops tools allowing healthcare organizations to share educational materials with patients.

—The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an independent organization that manages patents and licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said it granted the university $61.9 million in funding for the current school year. Additionally, WARF granted $19 million to the Morgridge Institute for Research, which is affiliated with UW-Madison. In August, WARF managing director Erik Iverson discussed the organization’s plans to invest $60 million in startups with ties to UW-Madison over the next eight years.

—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will hold a conference in Milwaukee Nov. 7-9 that will provide attendees with information on applying for research and development grants. The conference, which is being held in Milwaukee for the first time, will help leaders at early-stage businesses learn the ins and outs of applying for Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

—That same week in November, entrepreneurs, investors, and other members of the state’s innovation community will participate in the first-ever Wisconsin Startup Week, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which is helping to sponsor the event series. Wisconsin Startup Week is an outgrowth of Milwaukee Startup Week, which was held for the first time last year.

—The NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Seattle-based Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) said they each plan to spend $5 million over the next five years to create a new venture capital fund, startup accelerator, and other innovation-focused programs in Green Bay. All of that will be housed in a new “TitletownTech” building, slated to open a year from … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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